More flats are planned for the heart of a busy Stockport suburb – despite concerns the area is fast running out of parking space. A new apartment block boasting nine two-bed homes is to be built on part of the car park at Fabrick – an existing 184-apartment development in Warren Road, Cheadle Hulme.
The proposals mean Fabrick residents will lose 28 of the 136 spaces they currently have access to – albeit a council survey claims only 99 are used when it is fully occupied. In theory, this leaves the remaining nine to be used by the new development, where each flat will have one designated parking space each.
The council’s planning committee voted to approve the scheme, following a ‘strong recommendation’ from officers – who stressed the area was well served by public transport as well as walking and cycling infrastructure. However, Councilor Suzanne Wyatt – who represents the Cheadle Hulme South ward – was unconvinced.
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She said: “I’m aware of the need for developments such as this one. But, like my ward colleagues at area committee, I’m seriously worried about parking issues.” Coun Wyatt noted that the new apartments would each have one dedicated parking space under the proposals, while only just over half of those at Fabrick would.
“They are losing a lot,” she added. “It seems to me there will be overspill parking and it seems to me this is the usual response to the usual overspill parking in Cheadle Hulme.”
The Lib Dem councilor said the same rationale had been deployed for various developments, including Butterworth’s Bakery and The Pointe as well as a recently approved new restaurant. “I think probably the issue is we are stuck with the pressure the council is under to try and meet the government’s demand for a five-year housing supply, plus the council’s own parking standards that impose maximum, rather than minimum, standards. I really think the council should look at that again.”
While Conservative Coun Brian Bagnall did not agree government targets were a factor, he agreed with Coun Wyatt’s main point. He said: “Every time a new bar, restaurant, housing development, flats development is done in Cheadle Hulme, we use the same argument. And there’s only so many times you can fill up the car park.”
But he welcomed a proposed green space for all residents which he said would improve the ‘stark’ appearance of the site. A report to councillors describes this grassy area as ‘softening the appearance of the development as well as enhancing its setting’.
“I think this would improve the visual impact of the area, and the fact they have some open space which they currently haven’t got, I think is a benefit,” Coun Bagnall added.
Coun Andy Sorton, chair of the committee, was less equivocal in his support, however. “I don’t see how we can always consider putting cars before homes that are badly needed,” he said.
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“If we start to turn things down that are in sustainable locations, then this local authority is going to be in very serious trouble in trying to defend its green open spaces and its green belt land – because it just won’t be able to do Item.”
He accepted that parking was an issue, but added ‘parking is an issue everywhere’. He continued: “There is potential improvement here with that open space, none of it’s there, those only apartments there and not one bit of blade for people to enjoy themselves on.”
“I can’t see where there would be reasonable justification in rejecting something like this.” The committee agreed to approve the application.
Stockport council’s planning and highways committee met at Fred Perry House, on Thursday night (April 21).
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